Gunshots reported near campus

Sophia Sailer, news reporter

On Feb. 27, Winona State University’s Security Services sent an email to all students regarding an incident that involved guns being fired near a residence near campus.
In the email, Security Services stated the university was informed that a gun was fired several times in or near a residence, taking place at an off-campus location on the 100 block of West 7th St. in the early morning hours.
Chris Cichosz, director of security, sent the original email and said that shootings like these have happened before, but are very rare for Winona.
“Thankfully these types of events are not typical within the Winona community. Students should take the time to assess the locations you happen to be in and be an active observer in your environment. If you see or hear something concerning, take actions that you feel will keep you safe,” Cichosz said.
Cichosz explained what students can do to feel prepared and safe in regard to the shooting.
“Students can always preplan before they go to events or locations. If new information is learned [about events like the shooting], students should feel comfortable changing plans. If you have concerns, maybe you do not even go the event, to feel more comfortable,” Cichosz said.
Garrett Withers, a first-year student majoring in criminal justice, talked about his own cautious practices regarding shootings.
“I don’t do much as far as preparing for shootings or think about it all that much. I just go about my daily life and keep myself busy. Although, to feel comfortable, I stay aware of the situations I am in,” Withers said.
Since COVID-19, Cichosz said he works more virtually and social distances when he can. With the on-the-go job, sometimes COVID regulations do not apply.
“I have more meetings virtually now, but for the most part, the functions of security have not changed much. We are following mask and distancing guidelines when possible, but there are times when we are unable to distance from others,” Cichosz said.
The Winona Police Department has two suspects in custody in regard to the reported gunshots.
According to the Winona Police Department, there are no known threats to the university community at this time.